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6 things Bills fans should watch for on day one of the NFL Draft

Posted Apr 26, 2018

Draft day is officially here and John Murphy is breaking down the latest rumors and speculation as the start of the NFL Draft approaches on Thursday night.

Now, we’re all on the clock. It’s not just the Cleveland Browns.  It’s all of us, especially those who follow the Bills. Speculation will fill the many hours between now and first pick of the draft shortly after 8 pm tonight.

Here are some draft-related topics to ponder as the minutes pass by slowly until the start of the first round:

1. THE BILLS ARE A MAJOR PLAYER IN TONIGHT’S ROUND ONE

Tonight’s round one is certain be to be compelling.  And the Bills are in the thick of things with nine total draft picks, six in the first three rounds and two picks in the first round. The Bills join Cleveland and New England as the only teams with multiple first round picks in 2018.  GM Brandon Beane says it didn’t happen by accident.

“You love draft capital,” he said this week. “And we were very calculated last year in how we did it (accumulated draft capital). And this is why we did it—for this moment. “

2. YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE ACTION TO START

With the Cleveland Browns holding the first and fourth picks you’re not likely to wait too long before the quarterback moves commence. The latest speculation coming out of Cleveland has the Browns settling on either Baker Mayfield or Josh Allen as the first overall pick. The Giants at two have long been viewed as a target spot for quarterback-needy teams, but moving up from to No. 2 might be too much of a lift for the Bills or other teams. And the Giants could sit tight at two and use their pick on Penn State RB Saquon Barkley or defensive end Bradley Chubb.

Then it’s the Jets at three. They moved into that spot six weeks ago to get in position to get their quarterback.

The Browns back on the board with the fourth pick could be the spot for a number of teams to lock-in on to get in position for a quarterback pick. Will the Cleveland be interested in moving down in the first round and accumulating more mid-round picks?

Bills GM Brandon Beane told reporters earlier this week his second pick in the first round, 22nd overall, is the key—preventing the Bills from mortgaging the future to get a top-five pick.

3. ON THE OTHER HAND …

What if the quarterbacks disappear off the draft board early? What if Cleveland takes Mayfield or Allen, the Giants take the other one, the Jets select Darnold and Denver (at 5) goes for Rosen? For the Bills, it could mean waiting for later in the first round or even the second or third to address the position. GM Brandon Beane is ready address other positional needs if that’s the way the board falls. Beane said last week even without getting a quarterback, the Bills could have a successful draft.

“There’s a lot of good players in this draft,” according to Beane “and that was the big thing from moving from 21 to 12. The natural assumption, I get it, is [that] they’re moving up to get a quarterback, yada-yada. No, we improved our draft position. That was a second-round value jump to go from 21 to 12. We’re excited about where that moves us on our draft board, the players that we see would be available there.”

4. MOVING UP IS HARD TO DO

Once there are quarterback prospects involved, moving up the draft board gets expensive. As evidence-the Bears move up one spot last year to get Mitchell Trubisky. It cost Chicago third and fourth round picks last year, and a third rounder this year to move up one spot. That’s why after the Jets trade to go from sixth to third in the first round, many observers thought the price might be too high for the Bills go jump from 12th to second.

Longtime NFL writer Peter King speculated earlier this week about a Bills trade up from 12 to six (with the Colts) that would only entail Buffalo giving up its’ two second round picks and one of its’ third rounders to make the move.

After that trade, the Bills would still have one of their first rounders in hand (22nd overall) and potentially a top-10 selection.  Who would argue with that deal?

5. TRADING BACK IS AN OPTION

They did it last year. The Bills moved down from 10th to 27th in the first round to let the Chiefs move up to get their quarterback. It was the first move towards setting Buffalo up with a boatload of premium draft picks this year.

With plenty of talent available in this year’s second and third rounds, trading back could be an option for the Bills when they’re on the clock in the first round.

6. MUST SEE TV

It will be tough to ignore the draft for TV viewers the next three days. No fewer than five networks will televise all or part of the draft starting tonight at 8 pm. NFL Network, ESPN, ESPN2, FOX and ABC will all carry draft coverage.  Even if the action lags, the scenes and fan reaction from AT&T Stadium should make for a great TV show.